The two squash pictured above are known variously as hokkaido, uhciki kuri, and red kuri and is one of my favorite winter squash cultivars. The red kuri squash is easy to grow and a prolific producer of red-orange skinned tear-drop shaped fruits weighing between 5 and 7 pounds with deep orange, smooth, sweet chestnut flavored flesh.
To grow red kuri plant the seeds in rich moist soil in a location that gets sun all day. Best germination occurs when the soil temperatures are at least 60° F. Give it plenty of room as the vines can grow 10 or more feet long. Fruits will be fully ripe about 13 to 15 weeks after sowing. The stems of ripe fruit will change from green to yellow. Don’t let the fruits be damaged by frosts as this will cause them to decay. Cure the fruits in a warm, dry location with direct sunlight and store in a dry but cool room. You can eat the squash right after harvest but the flavor is better if they cure for at least two weeks. Red kuri squash makes many staminate (male) flowers and these can be eaten, too, like any other squash blossom. The very young fruits just a day or two old can be cooked like summer squash and taste much better. Mature red kuri fruits are good roasted, in squash soups, made into pasta sauce with sage, parmesan cheese and garlic, and in pies, breads and cookies.